Infants - Feeding
By 4-6 months of age, most infants are nursing 5-7 times/day or drinking 24-32 ounces of formula/day. One of the exciting changes for your baby in the first year of life is the initiation of solid foods. Many babies are ready to start solid foods at 4-6 months of age when they are able to hold their head straight up while sitting and appear interested in food when others eat. However, there is no need to rush into solid foods at this time; many babies continue to be satisfied with formula or breast milk until 6 months of age.
The first solid food that should be started is single-grain, iron-fortified rice cereal. You can initially miz 1-2 tablespoons of cereal with either breast milk or formula in a small bowl until the mixture resembles a thin oatmeal and offer a small bite to your baby on a spoon. The food may be given in the morning or in the evening. Some babies will grimace and spit the food out right away. If this happens on a consistent basis, you may want to wait another week or two before starting again. If your baby seems to enjoy it, this can become a regular part of the feeding routine once/day along with the baby's usual breast milk or formula. It is natural for the baby's liquid intake to decrease when the baby starts solid foods.
Once your baby is used to rice cereal, you may start pureed fruits and vegetables. You may buy baby food jars or make fresh pureed foods at home. We recommend starting one new food at a time an sticking with that food 2-3 days to watch for any unusual reactions such as rashes or face/lip swelling. You can then start other new foods one at a time. It is fine to combine more than one vegetable or fruit at a meal once your baby has eaten them individually without a problem. Yellow/orange vegetables should be given first, followed by green vegetables. All fruits are fine although you may want to postpone citrus fruits until 6 months of age.
Once your child is 6 months old, you may also start meats. Most children are eating solid food 3 times/day by the time they are 9 months old. At 9 months of age it is fine to introduce cheese and yogurt as well as soft finger foods like dry cereal and bread. Many babies will have an interest in feeding themselves at this time.
The following foods should be avoided until 1 year of age: eggs, seafood, peanuts and other tree nuts. Food should also be cut into small bites to avoid any risk of choking.
Babies should be transitioned to whole milk after their first birthday. Most children transition totally to table foods by 12-15 months of age.